Originally written on Dempsey's Army  |  Last updated 11/16/14
With some of his recent struggles, some Oriole fans are questioning if Jake Arrieta needs to be sent back to Norfolk for awhile or at least removed from the Oriole rotation. While his hot start was a bit of a mirage, he has been and continues to be a fairly effective pitcher who has just gone through a rough patch.

From Fangraphs.com, observe stats from the last six starts for Arrieta.

6/3/2012 @TBR 4.2 0 4 3 5.79 7.71 0 0.154 46.20% 0.00% 7.71 4.31 5.84
5/29/2012 @TOR 4.1 0 3 5 10.38 6.23 0 0.4 35.70% 0.00% 12.46 2.8 3.78
5/23/2012 BOS 5.2 1 3 2 3.18 4.76 1.59 0.35 55.00% 25.00% 6.35 6.21 4.91
5/18/2012 @WSN 7 1 1 9 11.57 1.29 1.29 0.333 43.80% 14.30% 1.29 2.74 2.31
5/13/2012 TBR 3.2 0 2 6 14.73 4.91 0 0.667 35.70% 0.00% 17.18 1.39 3.33
5/8/2012 TEX 6.1 3 1 3 4.26 1.42 4.26 0.273 54.20% 42.90% 8.53 8.71 4.13

Pay close attention to the game-by-game FIP, xFIP and ERA numbers. Looking at the FIP and xFIP numbers, you see three pretty good starts, one that was shaky and two that were not good at all. But even though he's having his ups and downs, overall this is not a bad performance overall. It's a 4.81 FIP over those starts, nothing to be particularly proud of but hardly the disaster that his ERA and win-loss record would suggest.

Arrieta is still developing as a pitcher and has made some nice strides this season. His strikeouts are up, his walks are down and so is his WHIP and home run rate. He is making some mistakes, missing in the zone at times and getting hit hard. But there is nothing in his peripheral stats that raise any concerns. His defense is doing him no favors during this stretch either.

Arrieta will be fine over the course of the season. He has made good progress overall and although he will (in my opinion) never be the top of the rotation starter that some thought during his fast start, he is certainly a key piece of the Oriole rotation for 2012 and beyond.

Besides, who else is going to fill his spot in the rotation? The team is desperately looking for someone to take Tommy Hunter's place. Let Jake keep pitching and, eventually, the overall performance will match the underlying numbers.

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